Though barcode scanners aren’t a new technology, they are a very useful feature.
For example, Amazon’s barcode scanner allows shoppers to quickly compare prices in-store and check if they can get it cheaper online, which they usually can.
For House of Fraser the scanner fulfils a different role by enabling customers to find out additional product information, check stock availability, and have it delivered to their home if they can’t be bothered to queue at the checkout.
My preferred store & stock checker
Selecting your local or favourite House of Fraser shop allows users to then check stock in that store when they’re browsing different products.
For example, I can see that this jacket is available in my size at my local Oxford Street shop.
Making stock information available to customers is incredibly useful as it reassures them that their trip to House of Fraser won’t be in vain.
It can also help to poach customers from the competition, as if Selfridges doesn’t have my size I can double check that House of Fraser does before I make another wasted journey.
In addition to selecting a local store, users can also set default size options within their profile. The app then automatically selects this size when checking stock availability.
It’s another neat UX feature, though it would be improved if the men’s trouser sizes were more specific (e.g. waist and leg length). I don’t think I’ve ever bought a ‘medium’ pair of jeans.
Making a purchase
It’s very easy to browse the different products within the app and the product pages come complete with an ever-present ‘Add to bag’ CTA.
Once you’ve added an item to your basket the phone vibrates, which is a neat way of reassuring customers that it’s actually worked.
Unfortunately the app itself isn’t transactional, so if you want to make a purchase you’re directed to House of Fraser’s mobile site.
This means the whole process feels slightly disjointed (e.g. you have to go through two shopping baskets) and undermines the overall user experience as the mobile site UI is quite fiddly compared to the app.
House of Fraser’s new Android app offers a decent user experience and enough features to encourage repeated use among regular customers.
It’s easy to browse the various product ranges, though it’s let down by the fact that purchase have to be made via the mobile site.
However the real selling point is the ability to quickly check stock at your local shop.
It’s becoming more common for retailers to give customers a full view of stock availability (such as B&Q’s new site) so this is an important service for House of Fraser to offer.
It means customers can browse online then head to their store to try or buy items, safe in the knowledge that they won’t be wasting their time.
These seemingly small UX features are increasingly important as brands seek to use the customer experience as a means of differentiating themselves from the competition.